Walk 11: The Highways and Byways of Chelsea

The 11th walk from the 1980s AA guidebook was around Chelsea. I did this on Wednesday 22 August 2018, commencing at Sloane Square.

Walk 11
Chelsea

The first stop on this walk was the Royal Hospital. This institution was founded by Charles II in 1682 and designed by Christopher Wren. For a number of years the hospital has housed army pensioners. This is also the site of the famous Chelsea Flower Show.

Next to the hospital is the Ranelagh Gardens, site of the 18th century Ranelagh Pleasure Gardens, which closed in 1804.

From here the walk took me down to the Physic Gardens via Swan Walk. The 1980s guidebook says these gardens are not open to the public. In 2018 the public can now look around for a small fee.

 

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Ticket office for the Physic Gardens

Following this the walk heads down to Cheyne Walk, where ‘famous persons’ such as George Eliot lived. Also the site of Henry VIII’s manor house, at the time Chelsea was  a country village out of London.

From here I turned a right into Cheyne Row.

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Cheyne Row

Historian Thomas Carlyle lived at number 24 Cheyne Row. This is now a National Trust building, so being a member I had a quick look through.

From here I proceeded to Lawrence Street, the site where Chelsea China was manufactured from 1745 to 1784.

From here the walk took me down to the Chelsea old Church and Crosby Hall. In front of this is a statue of Sir Thomas More, near where he used to live.

The walk then took me past The Rectory where Charles Kingsley the author of The Water Babies once lived. The book says this house is ‘undistinguished’ and it was.

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The Rectory

Then the walk took me down King’s Road, once the private carriage route for Charles II, now a busy London thoroughfare.

The final stop on the tour was the Royal Avenue, designed by Christopher Wren to link The Royal Hospital with Kensington Palace. This was never finished, but the section that remains was completed in 1694.

Not included in the 1980s guide book, but on the way back to Sloane Square is the Saatchi Gallery. This opened in 1985, possibly after publication of this book.

 

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